Mary Hammond & Salu

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  • #4960
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Welcome to class Mary!  This is the forum topic where you will post your questions and homework videos for feedback from the instructors.  Please take a moment to tell us about yourself, your dog and your interest in truffle hunting.

    Class begins June 1st but you already have access to the first lesson so go ahead and check that out!  You can begin posting video homework and questions June 1st.

    #4969
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Welcome Mary!

    We are excited to have you back in class with not so little now Salu! Please share a little about him & even Lola and the dogs with the other students whom I am sure will be excited to learn more.

    Also don’t forget to receive email updates about when we post responses to homework make sure to check the box below this comment area! We are excited to see Salu in action.

    #5135
    MARY
    Participant

    Hi everyone – I’ll be working with my boy Salu who is a 13 mth. old Lagotto Romagnolo. We spent his first 12 months taking lots of puppy classes and getting him his TDI certification. Now we’re ready to have fun. I have used clicker training with Salu so he knows the clicker means fun stuff is coming.
    My other Lagotto, Lola, took this class about a year and a half ago and we LOVED it! We don’t have truffles here (Columbus, OH) but she still loves finding scents buried in the back yard.
    I have 3 other dogs who are rescues, Emmet (Border Terrier), Chelsea (Cairn Terrier) and Ginger (poodle mix). They are all 16 y/o and enjoy relaxing in the house and around the yard.

    Someday I would love to head down south and try our hand at some pecan truffles. We are so excited to take this class!

    #5158
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Mary we are excited again to have you and to see Mr. Salu. We look forward to seeing video.

    #5159
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    We are very excited to see you and Salu in action 😀 Welcome!

    #5176
    MARY
    Participant

    Alana/Kristin – just a video of Salu targeting. I don’t feel at this point that he’s connecting scent with the target – just treats but who knows.
    we’ll work with some boxes and post a video in a day or two

    #5179
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    He’s one of the lagotto with the wagging tails! How fun. Don’t worry about if it may just be treats for nose targeting. Foundational steps and it will become an association. Just keep at it. You are developing some very nice foundational alert behaviors here in this targeting game. Go back through and watch it with that in mind and see if you can notice the moments he begins to offer them.

    Nice delivery of reward at source.and VERY nice timing on your part Mary (0:20) well done! Great job Salu at 1:16

    Well done guys.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 5 months ago by Alana McGee.
    #5200
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    When you watch this again, as Alana suggested, notice those moments where he offers an extra special effort. Those are moments to jackpot with a party (more treats drawn out over a longer time, something extra he loves, lots of rewarding praise and energy from you).

    Jackpot moments in this video could have been at 0:26 and 1:16. Can you see that?

    #5208
    MARY
    Participant

    Kristen/Alana – thanks for the feedback. I went back and saw where he pushed the scent with his nose. I’ll work to catch those moments.
    We’ve been working on the boxes and in the last two sessions we had today he starting to “get it”. He really gets happy. I’ll post a video in the morning.
    Problem being, he won’t leave the scent unless I pick it up and walk away with it so that’s what I do to get him to move so I can rearrange the boxes for another pass. Not exactly a “problem” – just funny.

    #5212
    MARY
    Participant

    I need to apologize as this is a little over 3 minutes. I’ll play with the editing so I can correct this in the future.
    The first few passes the front box is out of the camera view but I think you can still get a good idea.

    #5217
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Picking it up and walking away with it is just fine. Later we ask you to do exactly that. In a real world environment the end criteria for success is the truffle in your hand. So essentially you will be picking it up and walking away with it before he finds the next one.

    You’re doing a great job.
    At 0:42 take a look at this moment again. He is offering some very nice behaviors. If you want to strengthen duration of these behaviors or shape an alert more intense, here you could have held off on moving (yourself)/ exiting the area) for just a few seconds. It is highly likely Salu would have offered another behavior at source.
    When this happens that is when you have that extra party or jackpot (provided it is a behavior you want), that Kristin was mentioning. Also when you do that, pay attention the tone in your voice and add in more enthusiasm.

    0:35 is a good example of an increase in your tonal enthusiasm.

    That all being said, we love that he us obedient to odor or location already.

    Salu is extremely bonded, focused, and sensitive to you. I point it out because it will come back later in more complex scenarios wherein he will be watching you and reading your body langauge hints on where he should be searching, so you’ll need to be conscious of how you might inadvertently be cuing him into where the odor is hidden in the future.

    Look at the search at 2:15. This was more independent, less relying on you for information. See the shift–he has his face to the ground smelling, searching for odor as opposed to looking at you to tell him where it is and where odor is… after doing this a couple of rounds you may notice he begins to gradually get more comfortable and confident with the game after a handful of trials.

    The following is very subtle, but we mention it so you can see it:

    At 2:54 Salu pauses and shifts his weight to the side as if you were not moving he would have gone back to that first box. We don’t suggest you change anything with this scenario set up presently, but it is another example of how he is looking to you for information. Had you not been moving presently in that scenario he may have gone back. Just something to note and allow yourself pauses as you work an area. This behavior is something we see manifest in new environments as dogs gain confidence in the game. Being able to read your dog and when to move and when to be still are skills that come with time and practice, but watch that segment again with that in mind because that slight pause is possible indication of him being in odor but unsure. Movement by a handler can allow a safety measure, encouragement, and direction but it also can be used as pressure which is something we talk about later.

    Good job picking the target up after that round.

    That last one was really Pretty Mary! He is more confident. And look and notice your level of enthusiasm in reward. This was well done! 4:09 beautiful on the last pass around! Even with you still moving he was confident and alerted. That right there was fabulous because while you are still even moving it now is him communicating more confidently with you! Love it!

    #5220
    MARY
    Participant

    wow, so much good information! After I posted the video I went back and studied it a few times and saw some of this. I think I will start doing videos of our practice sessions so I can study them and look these things – thank you.
    I tend to forget that he’s really still a puppy – all this feedback will help me work with him in other areas.
    I’m not sure I understand “obedient to odor” – Is that when he doesn’t want to leave it?

    Question – if we were to go on and do competition scent classes, is there an alert that is preferred over others? My vet observed Salu one day while he was at the vet’s office. Later in the the vet called me and said he thought I should consider taking scent classes with Salu. He thought Salu would do well and enjoy them.

    #5221
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Obedient to odor really in essence means he recognizes it, and stays at source.

    What Salu is doing right now as an alert is quite nice for scent work competition. Eventually adding in nose touches will help with level 3 exteriors and with truffle hunting while still avoiding what we call an active alert which is where the dog interacts more with the target (such as pawing). Being able to have a more precise alert (nose touches are what we recommend) or even staring for hides at elevation are good for competition. The skills you learn here in this class will transfer very easily to the competition ring, while you will be using different odor source.

    #5253
    MARY
    Participant

    Lesson 2 question. I started with the scent ball, much like the first targeting video, worked to 1 box, then 2 then 3 boxes giving jackpots/parties for any alert. His choice of passive is to lie down which is fine and he’s learned to do it when I say “show me”
    I’m also leaving the leash drag and stay behind so I don’t give clues to the target – he’s been spot on.

    My question is, at this point how do I encourage an active alert without discouraging the one he’s using now?

    #5255
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Wait until the hides go under something. The “active” part will likely emerge when the target becomes inaccessible. Right now, there is no need for Salu to be active because the target is right there.

    Be very aware of what this looks like for future reference. OFTEN, after dogs develop an active segment to their alert behavior chain, they don’t know how to indicate on a surface truffle. For advanced truffle dog teams, surface truffles become incredibly challenging because there is nothing for the dog to “do” at the truffle site.

    Encourage some precision at this point, but don’t worry about the active alert until there is a barrier between Salu and the truffle. That will be a nose target or paw (we recommend nose). At this stage, continue marking and rewarding as you have been but add a request for a targeting behavior when you go to pick up the target. This means you will be giving two rewards…one for finding the correct hide (as you are doing) + another reward for the nose/ paw target. Then leave the scenario with the truffle target in hand.

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